South Dakota highway plan faces annual public review

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KEL0) — The state Transportation Commission agreed Thursday to holding a series of face-to-face meetings to hear what people think about South Dakota’s proposed highway and public transit plans. 

Informal meetings on the latest four-year plan began last week in Pierre, Yankton, Sioux Falls, Watertown, Rapid City and Aberdeen. Formal public meetings are set next for four cities, starting July 9 in Aberdeen. 

To top off the discussions, a worldwide-web session is set for July 18. 

“We really rely on public input,” Mike Behm, director of planning and engineering for the state Department of Transportation, said. He noted the department receives “quite a few emails from folks” too. 

Commissioners often attended the public sessions in past years. Behm and his supervisors, Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist and Deputy Secretary Joel Jundt, will gather again later this summer to get the commission’s final approval. 

They want as many pieces in place as possible when the new federal budget year starts October 1. The department heavily depends on federal aid for construction work. Several federal agencies also review the state plan. 

“My only comment,” commissioner Ralph Marquardt of Yankton told Behm, “is thanks for all the work.” 

Behm said his staff focuses on condition, capacity and safety of South Dakota’s roadways. 

“I think we’ve got a really, really good system in the state,” Behm said.  

The meeting schedule is: 
July 9, Aberdeen, AmericInn, 7 p.m. CT. 
July 10, Mitchell, Highland Conference Center, 7 p.m. CT. 
July 11, Rapid City, Ramkota, 7 p.m. MT. 
July 15, Pierre, Ramkota, 7 p.m. CT. 
July 18, webinar, 2:30 p.m. CT,

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